Queensland horseman Robert Heathcote is pleased with barrier seven for his champion galloper Buffering who contests Friday night’s 2015 Manikato Stakes for the fifth consecutive year.
Winner of the race two years ago, Heathcote’s son of Mossman is now shooting to become the first eight-year-old to win the $1 million Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) in over 30 years.
He is drawn to win according to his trainer however jumping from barrier seven in the 10-starter field for Friday’s feature at Moonee Valley Racecourse, Buffering having run in the four most recent editions of the weight-for-age classic.
Buffering was fourth to Sepoy in 2011, sixth to Sea Siren in 2012, won the race in 2013 and then ran seventh to Lankan Rupee last Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
For the third time, the $5 million earner won the Group 1 Moir Stakes at Moonee Valley last start with his first-up success over Ball Of Muscle that he’ll look to frank the form of with a Manikato win second-up.
To date Buffering has won three of his 10 second-up assignments, his regular rider and 2013 Manikato Stakes winning jockey Damian Browne continuing his association.
Two years ago Buffering jumped from barrier 10 of 12, and Heathcote is pleased with his barrier this season, despite no Manikato Stakes winner having jumped from gate seven since King Marauding (1992).
“I wanted to draw barrier six or seven and we’ve come up with seven, so I’m happy,” he told Racing Victoria.
Buffering is the early market mover in Manikato Stakes betting at Ladbrokes.com.au, who are exclusively offering Best Tote or SP + 20%” on the entire field on Friday night, backed in from $8 to $7.50 post barrier-draw.
Chautauqua is the easing favourite out to $2.05 (from $1.95) and jumps from barrier two with Tommy Berry replacing the suspended Dwayne Dunn aboard the Team Hawkes-trained flyer.
A known backmarker who does his best work late, barrier two looks to work against the favourite here and barrier two has also failed to produce a Manikato winner in over three decades.
The inside alley belongs this year to the $5.50 second pick in the Manikato Stakes odds Terravista ($5.50) from the Sydney stables of Joe Pride, the galloper out to improve on his half-length away fifth in the race last year.
Terravista comes off a first-up win in the Group 2 Premiere Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on October 3 and has James McDonald aboard in barrier one where three Manikato Stakes winners since 2009 have jumped from.
Drawn the opposite end of the Manikato Stakes field meanwhile is the Ciaron Maher-trained Stradbroke Handicap – Tattersall’s Tiara double winner Srikandi in 10 for her hoop Kerrin McEvoy to overcome.
Barrier 10 is better than it appears on paper historically with Buffering getting the job done from that gate two years ago.
In the Tattersall’s Tiara at the Gold Coast on June 20, Maher’s five-year-old daughter of Dubawi Srikandi overcame gate 15 of 15 for the win and so remains a livewire Manikato hope at $6.50 for the win first-up.
“Sometimes you get the luck and sometimes you don’t,” Maher said of his mare’s Manikato Stakes barrier.
“She’s pretty sharp heading into this and she’s retained a fair bit of residual fitness from the Queensland campaign.”
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